In the aftermath of Valiant Entertainment's "Harbinger Wars" comes the well-timed "Bloodshot" #0 by Matt Kindt and ChrisCross, focusing on the character's origin before the revamped "Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps" series picks up next month.
Kindt's story starts off superbly, with a voiceover narrative from an as-yet unknown source (at least to new readers) overlaying a dynamic first page by ChrisCross that gives way to a beautifully gory full-page view of Bloodshot in action on the second. Two pages in, and both creators successfully complete their initial mission and grab readers, both new and existing, early on. The duo keeps readers entertained, as the history of past incarnations of the character is revealed, complete with a fun little bit of revisionism to real-world events. The depictions of earlier versions of Bloodshot fit in with the time period, and Kindt establishes a decades-long backstory in just a few pages that make the character enticing to unfamiliar readers, as well as those who might only know of the original '90s Valiant Comics incarnation.
In fact, Kindt starts off the story circa 1992, in perhaps what amounts to a small nod, intentional or otherwise, to the original title which began publication around that same time. But like "Harbinger" and other relaunched Valiant titles, the character and its origins are remarkably faithful to the original, yet surprisingly fresh. The essence of Bloodshot is the same, but the story and origin are told with a lot more flair this time around. Ironically, Kindt deserves credit for such restraint and staying true, while ChrisCross deserves the same for adding style that the character never really had before. The new Valiant formula for success seems to be staying dutiful to what already worked and embellishing it from there, and this issue follows that recipe.
Kindt ratchets up the action as his story moves into the situation with the unfortunate soldier who ends up becoming the current Bloodshot. Even as it does, though, it gets weighed down by the continuation of the narrative that began the issue; by this point in the story it starts to run a little long, and it gets a little heavy with exposition and some logic-defying implications about the transformation process. The psychological overtones get a little overbearing by the time the issue comes to a close, but Kindt recovers from this nicely at the very end with a climax that that's agonizingly but cleverly ambiguous. The payoff is worth the heavy handed buildup.
Current Bloodshot fans should enjoy this, as will Harbinger fans whose introduction to the character was in the recently-concluded "Harbinger Wars." "Bloodshot" #0 is a solid issue that's a nice addition to the rapidly-expanding retake on the Valiant Universe.